Phase one of a three-year plan to make the Great Smoky Mountains National Park more energy efficient came to a close with the park’s purchase of new equipment using a $239,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Park’s Initiative. more

Mountain Explorer


Sarah E. Kucharski photo

The seed catalogs have been arriving in the mail. I tend to collect them, take them to bed with me, and peer at images of heirloom varieties and newly cultivated hybrids in the soft light of the bedside lamp that inspires garden dreams. more


Lonely children often take refuge in their imagination. Without playmates or distractions they may create imaginary friends and convene parliaments of comic book heroes to discuss tactics designed to cleanse the world of evil. more

Good Reads

Backyard farmers know this well—there is little more satisfying and nutritious than food that tastes of where it has been raised. A tomato borne on hand-tended vines is a plump reward for careful cultivators. more


Current events

Margaret Hester photo

It was a Green Drinks night at Posana Café in Asheville, N.C., and the crowd started gathering early. The program on tap was the hot topic for now in the city—the future of Asheville’s water system. more


Linked in logs

Scott Muirhead photo

Historically commercial buildings have been trash bins for energy dollars. Through the buildings’ inefficiency and the managements’ disregard, the cavernous spaces have over the years provided for the belching of untold mega-tons of CO2 into the air. more


Green goodness

Photo courtesy of Jamie Hill

Rockhounds, they say, are a superstitious lot. “Very superstitious,” remarked Tony Elwood of Charlotte, who spent a late winter Sunday at the Crabtree Emerald Mine in Little Switzerland, N.C., along with his pal Mike Ruff. more


White Oak Flats Branch

Don McGowan photo

What is a temperate rainforest? The short answer is that it’s a forest that’s wet with mild temperatures. The not-so-short-answer is that in the Southern Appalachians it’s complicated. more


The dandelion doesn’t quite have “a million and one uses,” but dandelion—roots, leaves, and flowers—is a most versatile plant, and it can be harvested. It grows, well, like a weed, so it doesn’t appear to be in danger of being picked to extinction. more

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Solar Decathlon

Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon photo

The Solar Homestead is a self-sustaining net zero-energy house inspired by the pioneer spirit of the early settlers to the Blue Ridge Mountains. The isolation of early settlers to the Appalachian region fostered a pioneer spirit. more


Biofuel crops

Appalachian State University photos

To help reduce dependence on fossil fuels, biologists at Appalachian State University are exploring an Asian grass and algae for use as feedstocks for biofuels. more



Donated photo

Chris King brings green living to the courier transportation market in Knoxville, Tenn., with a fleet of 100 percent hybrid or bio-fueled vehicles. King’s Green Car and Courier company offers a variety of services. more